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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.

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Member Since:
22 May 2024
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23 May 2024 - 11:13 am
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My 12 year old cat has a very aggressive fibrosarcoma on her hind leg. I noticed in mid March that she was not eating well. I set up an appointment and right before she saw the vet discovered ha large hard mass on her leg. The mass was excised April 8. It was the size of a lemon and was in the muscle body. the pathology was fibrosarcoma and there were no clean margins. The vet did not think that it was an vaccine related sarcoma because during the time that she has been our vet, they did not give vaccines in that location. The vet decided to wait to amputate until the tumour recurred. We live in a tiny rural community. I tried to get her in to see a feline oncologist in the closest large city 2 hours away, but they have a 2 month wait for appointments. The mass has returned (Im reluctant to say that it "recurred" as it was never really gone only debulked) . I have Alice set up for an appointment to look for mets and surgery (amputation) 3 days later.

Here is my question: The work-up for mets will be fairly superficial as the imaging modalities are pretty rudimentary in our area. I think that there may be a fair chance of spread or mets that we will not be able to detect. Have any of you had a pet that underwent amputation and then subsequently died from mets or recurrence? if this occurred within a few months after amputation , do you regret doing the surgery?

I think that if the post amputation path does not show clear margins, I will do a phone consultation with a radiation oncologist ( 5 hour drive away).

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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23 May 2024 - 12:13 pm
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Hi Patrice.  Your post has been approved so stay tuned for responses from others

Sorry  you find yourself here but it is the best place for support, information and understanding from those who have gone through this journey. 

 

I'll  try and answer some of your questions and, hopefully give you some reassurance.  Kitty members with  more expertise in this area will join in.

Generally, x-rays are what's usually used to determine if there is any spread to the lungs, etc. There may, or may not be, microscopic cells that just don't show up unless you go through cat scans, mris, etc.

 

One of the main purposes of an amputation is to alleviate pain. It does sound like your cat may be experiencing some pain?  Does your sweet kitty have any pain meds prescribed yet?

Yes, sometimes Mets or the cancer spread to other areas can show up after a successful surgery and amputation. What we can tell you is that in almost all cases , whether the extended quality time was a couple of months or much longer, members had no regret with proceeding with the amputation.Even if mets do show up later, there are some treatments to continue to extend a quality pain free life.

 

None of us have a crystal ball into the future, but what we do know is it is important to live fully in the present and make every moment the best moment ever for your cat or your dog.

I know it's hard not to jump ahead, but let's just see what the initial x-ray show and then go from there.

My apologies for having to run, but hang on and just know that others will be here to give you some links to specifically try and answer some of the questions you have asked.

Hugd

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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23 May 2024 - 12:24 pm
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Hi Patrice, welcome! What is your kitty's name? 

I can't really top what Sally mentioned, but what I can add is for you to check out our Tripawd Cats Quality of Life Survey results. This should give you some insight. In our many years of being a community, I can tell you that most people, about 98%, have said that even though their animal didn't live up to the prognosis they had hoped for because of lung mets or another health crisis, they were glad they went with amputation because it gave their cat or dog a better pain-free life.

The reality is that we just don't know how long we have, or our pets. With cancer we want longevity guarantees if we pursue treatment, but even in today's world that's just not possible. The important thing about amputation is that it alleviates pain. I know that if I had a lemon-sized tumor growing into my muscle, it would hurt like crazy, and I'd want it gone. In my work with human amputees who lost limbs to cancer or injuries, they have told me the same thing. It makes sense that our animals feel the same way, since they have the same pain pathways we do.

Don't worry about what you can or cannot do for your cat beyond the amputation, if you opt for it. Living in a rural area myself, I totally understand your predicament about what is available as far as vet care goes. In this case, pain relief and quality of life is the first goal, and after that, any amount of time living life on three is icing on the cake.

Please keep us posted on what you decide to do.

Member Since:
22 May 2024
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8 June 2024 - 6:41 am
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We had Alice's pre-op on Thursday. The vet did not find obvious metastases but the cat's overall health has deteriorated. She has continued to lose weight ( 1 lb in 6 weeks) and has new kidney failure. The vet is worried about whether she will survive the post operative period. The tumor has recurred as 2 hard nodules which doubled in size over the last week. So if we do not do an amputation, she will need to be euthanised in a few weeks. I think the recurrence is causing some discomfort. I have decided to go ahead with surgery. If we don't do it death is certain very soon. If we do it she has a chance af recovery and a good life and if she medically deteriorates, the option of euthanasia is still there.

 

In spite of all the medical issues there is a strong sense of vitality in this cat. So, since amputation is her only chance of survival, we'll take it. I just hope that I'm not introducing severe suffering to the end of a short life!

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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8 June 2024 - 1:00 pm
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Hi Patrice,

Thanks for checking in. I'm sorry the news wasn't better. In many cases, weight loss is due to pain, so that could the reason for the loss. I don't know anything really about kidney failure but there's a lot of info in Jolie's story that you may want to dig into (you'll find it probably after about 5 or 6 pages in).

We all have to do what we feel is best for our animals. Follow your gut and know that your decision is made with the utmost of love and concern for Alice's well-being. Our pets can't ask for more than that. She is lucky to have you.

We hope everything goes smoothly. Please check in with us to let us know how things are going!

Member Since:
22 May 2024
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15 June 2024 - 1:46 pm
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Alice had her surgery on Tuesday. Her leg was removed at the hip.She came home that evening and acted just as I would expect post anaesthesia. Wednesday she hobbled around a little. On Thursday morning she just lay on a bed not eating, drinking or doing much of anything. I called the vet because I worried that she was dehydrated. They said that they were too busy to give her IV fluid but were finally, late in the afternoon, able to give me fluid and supplies for sub cutaneous fluids. ( the office is closed Friday for the whole weekend) After her first treatment , she perked up and ate and drank some water. I am giving her fluids daily. The good news is she is eating and drinking (If I bring the bowl to her) and she does purr when I pet her. I think I have the pain under control. I would feel better if she got up and walked around a little but the eating and drinking are a good sign. I'm pretty certain that if she had not gotten fluid for the last two days she would not have made it. I don't think we are out of the woods but I think there is a chance for recovery.

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 June 2024 - 12:10 pm
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Hi Patrice, I'm so glad Alice made it through surgery. You are such a great advocate for her! So glad you called the vet.

How is she doing today? I hope you are seeing some more improvement.

Member Since:
22 May 2024
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18 June 2024 - 8:18 am
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She is now one week out and has really turned the corner. She is eating , drinking, purring, using the litter box. I think we should have smooth sailing for a while!

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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18 June 2024 - 8:46 am
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Absolutely thrilled to hear this! Thank you so much for updating as we have all been hoping for improvement. This is huge improvement!👍👍👏👏

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
25 April 2007
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18 June 2024 - 11:59 am
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WONDERFUL!!!! smiley_clapsmiley_clap We needed this news today, it brings us renewed hope that life does get better, thank you so much for letting us know! Please keep us posted on how she is doing. 

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